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 March 15, 2024

Manhattan DA pushes back start date for Trump's hush money trial to late April

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg unexpectedly asked to delay former President Donald's hush money trial for another 30 days, the New York Times reported. Bragg's office said more time was needed to review additional documents.

Bragg's office claims a new tranche of records recently came to them requiring further examination. The additional time will also give Trump's legal team enough time to review the records as part of the discovery process.

Fox News reported that these records come from the federal investigation of the same matter that ultimately ended without a prosecution. Jury selection was set to begin on March 25 for the trial, but the start date will be pushed well into April.

Meanwhile, Trump's team asked for the case to be dismissed completely. Attorneys filed for a motion for a 90-day delay or for the charges to be dropped altogether because of "discovery process" violations.

The Case Against Trump

Judge Juan Merchan ruled Friday in favor of delaying the trial for 30 days, Reuters reported. Perhaps this will give the state additional time to find something that will stick to the former president.

Trump is currently embroiled in four criminal cases while also running in the 2024 presidential election. The Manhattan case is arguably the flimsiest of them all, with 34 counts pertaining to what is essentially an accounting decision.

In 2016, former porn star Stormy Daniels received $130,000 to keep quiet about a tryst that allegedly happened between her and Trump. The question isn't about the payment, but rather what the money was meant to do for Trump.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen said he'd made the payment to spare the family from learning about the affair. Bragg claims it was a campaign contribution, thus leading to Trump's prosecution.

Trump claims that he had no relationship with Daniels. He's also pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in New York.

Presidential Immunity

More important than all of the discussions about evidence and start dates is the idea that Trump may be immune from prosecution altogether, according to The Hill. Trump sought to delay the Manhattan trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on whether he had immunity.

Before the prosecution's delay, the judge had ruled that he could not wait. The high court will decide after April 25, but Bragg's office filed a brief with another court urging it to throw out Trump's claim.

The conflict specifically relates to statements he made in 2018 about the hush money case. "Multiple courts have now rejected defendant’s sweeping claim that every statement he made as President is an official act enjoying absolute immunity," Bragg's filing said Friday.

"Here, all of the statements that are the subject of defendant’s motion involved defendant speaking in his personal capacity regarding his personal affairs." It seems Bragg will try anything to hold Trump's feet to the fire.

While it's possible the delay is simply due to a clerical issue, it might also be because Bragg feels his case is too weak as it is. Still, Bragg and others will not stop until they see Trump behind bars, or at least out of the White House.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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